hires more staff on back of Covid home shopping surge

The online electrical goods retailer is hiring 650 staff as it anticipates “significant growth” after a surge in home shopping during the coronavirus pandemic.

The company said it was recruiting for a variety of roles from software developers and a TikTok specialist to gas engineers, delivery drivers and a fridge recycling shift coordinator. The jobs are based in various locations, including Manchester, Bolton, Telford, Thatcham and Crewe.

UK retail sales rise above pre-Covid levels as lockdown eases

The hiring round comes after UK sales for the online specialist soared by almost 60% in the four months to 31 July, while sales at its German arm jumped more than 90%. Earlier this month AO said that sales growth had been sustained even as more physical electrical stores opened after the easing of lockdown restrictions.

AO’s founder and chief executive, John Roberts, said: “AO went into Covid-19 fit and focused on the future. The pandemic accelerated a shift in customer behaviour towards online shopping – we saw five years’ change in five weeks. We now have the opportunity to make AO a habit that lasts for our new customers.”

Total online sales across the UK were up 50% in July, according to government figures, helping to push total retail sales above pre-pandemic levels for the first time.

While high street businesses, including M&S, Dixons and Boots, have been cutting jobs, home delivery companies and online retailers are hiring.

Last month the parcel delivery company Hermes said it wanted 9,000 more couriers, most of whom are classed as self-employed, and 1,500 full-time staff, including some roles at its head office in Yorkshire, as well as warehouse workers, managers and supervisors as it gears up forincreased demand.

The delivery company DPD said in June it would hire 6,000 workers, including HGV drivers, warehouse staff, managers and support staff such as mechanics, as part of a £200m investment in expanding its next-day parcel delivery service.

That same month, B&Q’s owner, Kingfisher, said it would be taking on 3,000 to 4,000 workers, about half in the UK, after online sales soared more than 200% in April and May.

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